The ongoing FIFA World CupTM has a very good chance to be the highest-scoring tournament since France 1998 (we only need nine goals in the final eight games of the competition to surpass Japan/Korea 2002), with an average so far of 2.7 goals per game.
How does that compare to the various pro and amateur leagues here in the US, Canada and Mexico? Here’s a chart of the latest information I have about goal-scoring in several North American Leagues (in each case, it’s either their current season or the most recent completed one):
- Now before you go thinking “Boy, NPSL games must be really exciting!” you should know that their gaudy goal-scoring average is boosted by several blowouts. There have been 28 games (7 percent of the total) decided by 6 or more goals in the NPSL this season, including the expansion BCS Clash getting hammered 13-0 (twice), 12-0, 11-0, 11-1, 10-1, 9-1 and 11-2.
- In fact, amateur leagues hold the top three spots, which makes sense, as defending – and competitive balance – in amateur leagues is notoriously slipshod. The second-division NASL is the highest-scoring pro league at 2.96 goals per game, with the women’s NWSL just a shade behind at 2.88.
- Major League Soccer’s current goals per game of 2.79 is higher than any of Europe’s top leagues except for Germany’s Bundesliga (which featured 3.16 goals per game last season) and comparable to England’s EPL (2.77), Spain’s La Liga (2.75) and Italy’s Serie A (2.72). France’s Ligue 1 would be at the bottom of the table in this quick study (merci!) as only 2.45 goals per game were scored in their matches last season.
- Obviously, goal-scoring isn’t everything (if it were, indoor soccer would be huge), but I just thought it would be interesting to compare the various leagues.